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Samoa language week

Birds migrate to environments where they survive and thrive

Tapa cloth.

Tālofa lava! Afio mai!

Samoa language week / Vaiaso o le gagana Sāmoa takes place this year between 28 May and 3 June. 

Samoa language week / Vaiaso o le gagana Sāmoa supports the curriculum principles of cultural diversity and inclusion, and provides an opportunity for students to:

  • explore the values of diversity and respect
  • make use of key competencies, especially using language, symbols, and texts and relating to others
  • achieve learning outcomes described in the learning languages learning area.

The wellbeing and achievement of students is enhanced when their learning reflects and reinforces where they come from, what they value, and what they already know. Samoa language week / Vaiaso o le gagana Sāmoa celebrates the identity, language, and culture of students from Samoa and students whose families are from Samoa; supporting this group of learners to engage and achieve success.  

Samoa language week / Vaiaso o le gagana Sāmoa helps all New Zealanders journey towards shared cultural understandings. Learning a new language gives us insight into new ways of thinking, and to different beliefs and cultural practices. Everyone who learns gagana Sāmoa helps to preserve it as a living and rich language.

“By learning an additional language and its related culture(s), students come to appreciate that languages and cultures are systems that are organised and used in particular ways to achieve meaning. Learning a new language extends students’ linguistic and cultural understanding and their ability to interact appropriately with other speakers ... Through such interaction, students acquire knowledge, skills, and attitudes that equip them for living in a world of diverse peoples, languages, and cultures.”

The New Zealand Curriculum, p 24

To celebrate in your school

Gagana Sāmoa is the second most spoken language in Auckland and third most spoken in New Zealand. This means that there is a reasonably high chance that you will have some speakers of gagana Sāmoa in your school. Encourage those students to be experts, and validate their expertise in front of other students. Support them to speak gagana Sāmoa to each other and to others in the class. Invite students to prepare the Samoa language week celebrations in the school, investigating the value of fa'a Samoa to others and placing an emphasis on shared language experiences.

  • Use the following questions as discussion starters with your class – "Why is it important for all New Zealanders to celebrate and learn gagana Sāmoa?" "What benefits will this bring to New Zealanders of Samoan descent?"
  • Investigate this years theme by involving students and families in looking at personal migrant stories. Discover the histories of families in your class: How they arrived, why they came, and what life has been like for migrant families in New Zealand. 
     
  • Hold a school gagana Sāmoa speech competition, using senior students as the judges.
  • Share your expertise with another school. Older students could mentor a Samoan cultural group, or teach younger students some basic language phrases.
  • With the help of the Samoan community, students can create a gagana Sāmoa resource that can be used by teachers across the school during the year.
  • Ask a grandparent or parent to come and read to children in the classroom or in the library at lunchtime. Check your resource room for gagana Sāmoa titles in the Tupu series.

Engaging with Pasifika parents, families, and communities

Samoa language week is an ideal opportunity to engage with aiga in the school community. Acknowledge expertise, encourage a steady flow of gagana Sāmoa speakers into the classroom, and let the community guide the teaching and learning in a fa'a Samoa way. This is a great way to practise gagana Sāmoa, as students can connect with the wider community while interacting with fluent speakers in an everyday situation.

If community members are willing, a debate could be held between parents and secondary level students in response to the Tagata Pasifika video below:

The survival of the Samoan language in New Zealand – Are we becoming complacent?
Are Samoans being complacent when it comes to their language? This Tagata Pasifika special looks at Samoa language learning, and whether attitudes towards learning gagana Sāmoa need to change.

Resources to help you get involved

Sāmoan Language week classroom resource
This education resource was co-created by Te Papa and the Ministry for Pacific Peoples. It is packed with ideas and links to help students learn Sāmoan words, phrases, and pronunciation, and explore aspects of Sāmoan culture.

Samoan salutations
This page from the Ministry for Pacific peoples lists some common phrases that you might like to use in your classrooms.

Gagana Sāmoa website
This website lists common phrases and provides audio to help with pronunciation.

Sāmoa language week logo.

Samoan language week
Follow this page on Facebook for discussion and a round up of national events and activities. 

The coconet
This website offers online language games to support students learning gagana Sāmoa.

wickED: Pasifika
This section from the wickED website on TKI provides several interactive activities for students to support learning about people and places in the South Pacific, and Pasifika languages.

Christchurch City Libraries – Samoa language week
This page highlights Samoan language resources and links to this year's events at Christchurch City Libraries.

Rays of Sound
The Language Learning Centre team has released free digital recordings of Māori and Samoan language learning readers that had been published non-commercially on tape in the 1980s and 1990s by the Ministry of Education.
The result is a digital audio-bookshelf that gives better access to precious and long-underused resources.

Getting started – Words and phrases that you could try

  • Tālofa lava: Hello (formal)
  • Mālō le soifua: Hello/Good health
  • ‘O ā mai 'oe? How are you? (to one person only)
  • Manuia fa‘afetai: Good, thank you
  • Manuia le aso: Have a great day
  • Tōfā soifua: Good bye (formal)

Ministry of Education resources

Ta'iala mo le gagana Sāmoa: The gagana Sāmoa guidelines
Download the Gagana Sāmoa language curriculum guidelines. These guidelines support additional language learning whilst focusing on teaching and learning that will enable students to achieve worthwhile outcomes.

Mua Ō! An Introduction to gagana Sāmoa
This resource has been designed and developed to support the teaching and learning of gagana Sāmoa as an additional language in New Zealand schools.

Gagana Sāmoa storybooks and teacher support materials
These storybooks and teacher support materials link to learning sequences in Mua Ō! The storybooks are in gagana Sāmoa and the teacher support materials are in English.

Inclusive Education Guides for Schools – Supporting Pasifika students
This guide focuses on inclusive teaching and learning strategies that can be used in the classroom to create a more effective learning environment for all Pasifika students.

Have you seen?

Effective teaching for Pasifika students – Language
This film shows the benefits of valuing and sharing the languages that Pasifika students bring with them into the classroom. 

Using ICT to enhance Samoan language
May Crichton discusses the process used to create gagana Sāmoa language learning resources through ICT. These resources have extended students' confidence with their language, and encouraged students and their families to speak gagana Sāmoa at home.

Updated on: 26 Apr 2016


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